The introduction of the new Renting Homes (Wales) Act
Mon 17 Oct 2022
Big changes are coming, and we want to ensure you are prepared!
Originally planned for July, the new Renting Homes (Wales) Act is now being implemented on 1st December 2022.
There are some huge changes planned, so it’s important if you have a property you let in Wales or you are planning to invest and let, then you need to be aware of the new changes (if you are already a landlord in England, the rules will be very different in Wales).
These changes do not change the fact all landlords and agents have to be licenced if you want to manage a let property. To do this you have to supply information such as your ID, the address of the property or properties you let, and you have to prove your knowledge of renting via Rent Smart Wales. This process can take around eight weeks, so it’s not quick and you need to be licenced before you can manage a property.
These are the existing rules, the new rules are bringing in many more changes you need to be aware of including:
1. Change to tenancy contracts, as Wales are moving to new “rental (occupation) contracts”, with tenants becoming “contract holders”
2. Higher fitness for habitation standards for the property and maintenance
3. How tenants and landlords communicate
For tenants this is good news as they will:
1. Have clarity on rights and responsibilities included in the new renting contract
2. The new contract effectively gives tenants a guarantee of a minimum 12-month let – as long as they abide by letting rules and regulations
3. Contracts which will make it easier to add or remove other tenants
4. ‘No fault’ eviction timings will increase from the current two months to six months
5. Increased protection from ‘retaliatory’ eviction
From a landlord’s perspective, the contract should also be easier to use, although you must ensure the property meets the new ‘fitness for human habitation’ rules. This will include mandatory five-yearly electrical safety tests and updated regulations for smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
Although the new The Renting Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) (Wales) Regulations 2022 does lay out 29 things to keep up to date and well maintained, these are very similar to the current rules and regulations laid out by the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).
The really good news for landlords is that if a property is abandoned by a tenant you won’t have to worry about having to wait for a court order to repossess the property. And although contracts will effectively be for 12 months in length, landlords can still evict a tenant with a month’s notice, or even shorter if the tenant’s breach of their contract relates to anti-social behaviour or serious rent arrears.
What do landlords need to do?
Landlords will need to issue all existing tenants (contract holders) with a Written Statement within the six month grace period running from 1st of December to 31st May 2023.
Overall the changes are big, but they are manageable. If you need help with this statement or just generally making sure your Welsh property is compliant ahead of the new rules becoming law, do pop into your local Moginie James branch in Cyncoed, Pontcanna, or Roath and an agent will help ensure you get all the advice you need to keep on the right side of the law.
Further information about the changes – along with published guidance for both landlords and tenants - is available on the Welsh Government website.